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One Pill Might Prevent Heart Disease
Date:3/30/2009

Study finds five drugs in one dose reduced heart attack, stroke risk

MONDAY, March 30 (HealthDay News) -- Create a single pill that contains a statin, three blood pressure drugs and aspirin, and you have an inexpensive medication that can reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular problems.

Or so researchers hope.

A first trial of the polypill (which already has a brand name, Polycap), has been successful, according to a report that was to be presented Monday at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., and online in The Lancet.

The polypill contains generic versions of the blood pressure medications atenolol, hydrochlorothiazide and rampiril, as well as simvastatin (Zocor) and aspirin. It is designed to attack three major risk factors of cardiovascular disease -- high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and formation of artery-blocking blood clots. It is being tested by an Indian company, Cadila Pharma.

The idea was originated by a group of physicians trained in India and now at McMaster University in Canada, said Dr. Koon Teo, a professor of medicine at McMaster and a member of the research team.

"We know that there are many medications that are beneficial," Teo said. "But often people don't like to take many pills, and doctors don't give patients all the pills they might need."

The first trial enrolled 2,053 people with one risk factor, such as high blood pressure, but no cardiovascular disease. They were divided into nine groups, one taking the polypill, the others various combinations of the medications.

The study, done at 50 centers in India, was designed to answer several questions:

Would the five-drug polypill deliver the same effect as individual pills? What reduction in blood pressure and cholesterol could it achieve? Would there be harmful interactions between the ingredients? Would aspirin reduce
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